Moody's Investors Service, the United States credit rating agency, has put on negative review a raft of leading European banks, as fears heighten that the full impact of Asia's economic crisis is about to be felt in Europe. Britain's Standard Chartered, and Germany's Commerzbank, Westdeutshe Landesbank, Norddeutsche Landesbank and Bayerische Landesbank, are all facing the threat of possible rating downgrades, Moody's said. France's Credit Lyonnais, which it said also had 'very large' credit ties in Asia, is on ratings watch, and the agency has warned that other French banks could come under the spotlight. Moody's comments came as another rating agency, Thomson Bankwatch also said in a report issued today that the risk profile of European banks risked significant change as a result of the present market volatility in the region. According to the latest Bank for International Settlements statistics, which last week prompted a sell-off in European banking shares, European banks have a larger exposure to Asia, than either US or Japanese banks, with outstanding claims at the end of June last year of US$158.7 billion. Moody's said it was considering a downgrade of Standard Chartered Bank's A2 long-term and Prime-1 short-term deposit ratings, its C financial strength rating and its subordinated debt rating of A3. It is also reviewing the Baa1 subordinated debt and its Baa2 junior subordinated debt and the preferred stock rating of 'baa1' of Standard Chartered Bank's parent, Standard Chartered. Moody's said it was concerned the 'continuing financial, political, and economic uncertainty in the Asia-Pacific region' could have a negative impact and that it would concentrate on the bank's business in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea. 'Standard Chartered's Malaysia operation represents one of the most important elements of its Asia-Pacific franchise after Hong Kong and Singapore,' it said. Similar action on Commerzbank, where it said it was reviewing its Aa2 long-term debt and deposit ratings and its B+ financial strength rating sparked outrage. The bank said it would be writing a letter of protest to Moody's arguing the ratings' review was based on false premises. Moody's said Commerzbank's 'comparatively high exposures to several troubled East Asian markets may erode some of the earnings improvements made over the past few years' and that it would consider Commerzbank's role in German and European markets. The global strategy of Westdeutsche Landesbank and Bayerische Landesbank will also come under review. Moody's had growing concerns about Norddeutsche Landesbank's profitability, 'partly compounded by still meaningful exposures to South Korea and several additional troubled East Asian markets'.